Editorial | Fighting poverty in rural areas

POVERTY in the Philippines is a ‘predominantly rural phenomenon, with 75 percent of the poor residing in rural areas,’ according to the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster.

Poverty incidence is highest among farmers (34.3%) and fisherfolk (34%), far above the national average of 21.6 percent.
HDPRC chair Virginia Orogo said the government’s response to this is to invest more in education, health, create more opportunities, increase social protection and community engagements and coordinate more at the local level.
Simply put, government services should be more intensive in farming communities and coastal villages where assistance through the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) supplemented by agricultural development can make a difference.
In the pre-State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) 2018 Forum at the Philippine International Convention Center last Wednesday, Orogo said that the enhanced Unconditional Transfer is expected to reach 8 million before Duterte’s third SONA on July 23. A total of P672.4 billion has been allotted for education, including P40 billion for free tuition in state universities and colleges. The Duterte administration has also allotted P179.4 billion for the health sector.
Specific to the farmers and fisherfolk, Orogo said that they will improve agricultural and livelihood interventions to beat the challenges these sectors face.
The local government units have a challenging role to play in fighting poverty. But it requires the highest standards of public service, transparency and political will to make eradicating or even just decreasing the number of people who are hungry and who remain in the trenches of development possible.

Posted in Opinion